Global mapping

The context for social enterprise is country-specific and often varies dramatically by geography within countries. As we build the global social enterprise movement we want to enhance our understanding of the complex environments in which social enterprise ecosystems operate.

In 2019 we outlined characteristics and features of social enterprise based on input from our global partners and stakeholders. By capturing more country specific  information through this global mapping project, SEWF will be better able to address the varied needs of social enterprises.

While this project is ambitious in its scale, our focus is largely on breadth. We attempt to understand the unique ways in which social enterprise is understood and operationalised in as many countries as possible and to capture the essence of the social enterprise ecosystem without reporting every detail.

Our global mapping project is ongoing and will report on:

  • recognition of social enterprise
  • popular terms for social enterprise
  • number of social enterprises, and
  • formal networks, legal structures, and strategies that exist to support social enterprises.

Soon we will be populating this website with information from our research.

Mapping

Australia
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BASIC FACTS 
Social Traders estimates there are 20,000 social enterprises in Australia generating approximately 3% of GDP and employing 300,000 Australians. Social enterprises in Australia are relatively mature with 38% more than 10 years in operation, and 34% with 2-5 years in operation. 

UNDERSTANDING 
Since 2009 there has been a growth in understanding of and interest in social enterprise in Australia. The National Social Enterprise Awards were established in 2013, with the aim of showcasing the best local businesses that are trading to deliver social or community benefit. There has also been a growth in intermediaries, including the establishment of Impact Academy and The Difference Incubator.

Above all, growth of the sector has been consumer driven, with customers increasingly shopping their values. In 2013 there were only 12 businesses certified in Australia. By 2019, that number increased to 270 companies certified from 46 different industries. Australia and New Zealand were also found to be the fastest growing regions for B Corps in the world.

One of the biggest challenges faced by social enterprises is the lack of national legal and business structures and policies. However, In 2018, the Victorian state government launched an Australian first social procurement framework to boost and grow the sector, giving a competitive edge to organisations contracting social and disability enterprises, as well as Aboriginal businesses. The Queensland state government followed closely behind them, investing almost half a million dollars into the sector, to boost job creation for disadvantaged people in the state.

OVERALL CHARACTERISTICS 
Overall, social enterprise is a growing sector in Australia with significant interest from consumers and governments. Social enterprises are particularly excited about the ongoing development of peer-to-peer support networks, which assist organisations to connect with, and learn from each other. Nearly every state and territory in Australia now has its own network. As with many countries, there is considerable debate around a single definition for social enterprise, with some groups concerned that constraints on reinvestment and distribution of power are limiting and exclusionary.

Austria
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BASIC FACTS 
It is challenging to analyse social enterprise in Austria by the EU operational criteria, however, an estimate using data from the Austrian Statistical Office and the commercial register, indicates that roughly 1,500 social enterprises operate in Austria. 
 
UNDERSTANDING 
Social enterprise is not a very familiar concept in Austria. Instead, they use terms such as social economy or social integration enterprises to describe the concept. There is no legal form for social enterprises in Austria, those that exist such as associations, public benefit limited liability companies, and cooperatives, are characterised based on whether they fit with the definitional criteria. In 2018, Austria enacted a public procurement law that considers the following: competitive tenders for social services, the criterion of awarding the economically advantageous bid instead of the lowest price, and compliance with social and environmental principles. Similar to Germany, their legal structures are centred around cooperatives and work integration social enterprises (WISE) 
 
OVERALL CHARACTERISTICS 
In Austria, social enterprises are constrained by multiple factors such as a lack of socio-political support; short-term funding; legal and fiscal uncertainties; little recognition; and an absence of common understanding. Due to these constraints, social enterprise has little prominence in Austria and there is a demand for strategies to improve these conditions.

Czech Republic
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BASIC FACTS
At the end of 2020 there were 163 officially registered social enterprises within the Czech Republic working across 23 different economic fields.

UNDERSTANDING
Historically, in the Czech Republic, the terms ‘social entrepreneurship’ or ‘social economy’ are most commonly used when discussing the social enterprise sector. Recently ‘social enterprise’ has been gaining traction due to an increased government focus on social enterprises. Although the understanding of ‘social enterprises’ within the Czech Republic is still limited although there are advocacy and lobbying organisations like the Chamber of Social Enterprises, which lobbies on behalf of social enterprises, social entrepreneurs, and the social economy more broadly, and P3, which focuses on supporting social enterprises through consulting, seminars, and workshops, who are working to increase the visibility of social enterprises and provide support to those operating within the Czech Republic.

OVERALL CHARACTERISTICS
The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs has a directory of social enterprises across the Czech Republic, which they continuously update. Their most recent survey of social enterprises in 2019 outlines many key characteristics of social enterprises in the country. More than half of the social enterprises in the Czech Republic focus on employment for individuals experiencing various forms of disadvantage. Social enterprises can be registered as Associations, Public Benefit Companies (non-profits), Social Co-operatives, or Limited Liability Companies. Introduced in 2014, a social co-operative legal is the only dedicated legal form for social enterprises, but it represents the smallest portion of approved social enterprises within the Czech Republic (only 8%). One of the Government’s social enterprise initiatives is an internship programme that encourages young people to get involved with the sector.

Germany
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BASIC FACTS
The European Commission estimated that in 2017 the number of social enterprises in Germany was 77,459. The origins of social enterprise in Germany lie mainly in voluntary community-led associations within health and social services, education and housing; cooperatives operated in agriculture, credit and retailing, while mutuals operated in insurance and philanthropic initiatives within the humanistic fields.

UNDERSTANDING
Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) recognised social enterprise through their 2018 coalition treaty in the section titled “Competitive Economy” indicating desire to bolster trading activities of social enterprise. Lots of higher education institutions promote social enterprise education and training. Impact HUB Munich, Berlin, and Dresden lead on the majority of accelerator activity while National German Cooperative Association works to advocate and monitor needs of cooperatives, additionally, SEND is a national association that promotes social entrepreneurship. 

OVERALL CHARACTERISTICS
Overall, although the government began to recognise the topic of social enterprise in 2000’s, the government has still remained passive, there is still no definition, no strategy or any action plan in dedication to social enterprises. However, commitment from organisations to promote and advocate social enterprises and cooperatives is increasing the visibility of socially and/or environmentally aware organisations. 

Kenya
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BASIC FACTS
Kenya has a high number of people living below the poverty line and its population is growing rapidly. So far the public sector has failed to deliver essential services, and private companies, faith-based organisations and NGOs are among a number of actors who operate across a range of sectors, including healthcare, education, and water supply.

Social enterprises have emerged as a new type of development actor with the potential to help solve the service delivery gap. Kenya and South Africa are among the leading countries in the social enterprise sector. More information can be found at this report from the World Bank.

UNDERSTANDING
Support for social enterprises in Kenya is lacking and far too complex. There is no clear regulatory framework or legislation for social enterprises. Due to the devolution process, several sectors are undergoing structural changes that influence public service provision and can increase demand for services.

Social enterprises do not have a defined legal form, so many social enterprises register as companies or NGOs, with the latter benefitting from tax exemptions. Kenya enacted the Public Benefit Organizations Act 2013 to create a new coherent framework for non-profit organizations, including hybrid organizations, which would affect social enterprises. However, the act has not been implemented as of yet, which is concerning for civil society and social enterprise actors.

OVERALL CHARACTERISTICS
The SE landscape in Kenya is one of the most developed in Africa. Kenya’s strong entrepreneurial culture combined with its status as a regional hub for organisations and social enterprise focused initiatives are among drivers for this development.

While grant bodies do exist, they often seek ventures with a return on investment, rather than those which prioritise social mission. Most funding is urban-based, and capacity is required to develop applications, reporting, and impact measurement. Low access to infrastructure such as electricity can be challenging, particularly for social enterprises in rural areas.

Malaysia
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BASIC FACTS
In 2018 the British Council conducted a mapping study in Malaysia to better understand the scope of the sector and estimated that there were 20,749 social enterprises operating in Malaysia.

UNDERSTANDING
This British Council study estimated the number of social enterprises by analysing small and medium businesses, NGOs, and co-operatives in the country that operated like social enterprises. While awareness and understanding is building in Malaysia especially given a change of government in 2018, most people still often conflate the familiar terms “NGO” and “charity organisation” with social enterprise. The establishment of the Ministry of Entrepreneur Development (MED) in 2018 has sparked greater understanding of social enterprise in Malaysia and created a system by which social enterprises can officially be accredited through MED. In 2019, those official registrations are still low, but the numbers are growing as MED builds a greater awareness of the potential for social enterprises in Malaysia.

OVERALL CHARACTERISTICS
In the past two years the social enterprise movement in Malaysia has really picked up due to changes in government and reorganisation of ministries. In addition to MED, the Malaysian Global Innovation & Creativity Centre (MaGIC) is another government body invested in social enterprise development in Malaysia. However, the Malaysian government is more focused on the development of entrepreneurship broadly as a mindset to spur economic growth and development than they are on social enterprise specifically.

Morocco
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BASIC FACTS 
British Council study (2019) estimated that approximately 20,000 social enterprises exist in Morocco. These social enterprises operate as cooperatives, for-profit SARLs (société à responsabilité limitée) or associations, and the majority are newly established.  
 
UNDERSTANDING 
The concept of social enterprise is not officially recognised in Morocco, with no policies explicitly aimed at social enterprise activities. However, a small number of governmental initiatives effectively support social enterprises. The National Initiative for Human Development (INDH) which was established in 2005, aims to eradicate instability for vulnerable populations by promoting income generating activities. Furthermore, the Ministry of Handicrafts, Social Economy and Solidarity launched their National Strategy of the Social and Solidarity Economy 2010-2020. The Ministry has recently confirmed that a framework law for social enterprises is currently being discussed. 
 
OVERALL CHARACTERISTICS 
In Morocco, social entrepreneurship is a growing movement, with 86% of social enterprise owners stating that they expect to grow their business in the next year (British Council, 2019). Thiprogress is driven by awareness-building campaigns, education forums and capacity-building programmes.  

Scotland
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BASIC FACTS 
There are over 6,000 social enterprises in Scotland and social enterprise activities are recognisable across public and private sectors. A Social Enterprise Census is completed every two years and is available here.

UNDERSTANDING 
In Scotland social enterprise is the used and recognised term to describe social enterprise activity. There are a number of national agencies in the social enterprise sector, SEN Scotland leads a series of geographical and thematic social enterprise networks and also focuses on work integration enterprises, CEIS leads a national business support contract and international engagement and Social Enterprise Scotland is a national membership body that hosts Scotland’s Buy Social campaign. Social enterprise is also formalised and supported through a 10-year strategy 2016-2026 developed by the sector and the Scottish Government. There are many legal structures used by social enterprises in Scotland. The most common is company limited by guarantee (with charitable status), but Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO), unincorporated association and community interest company are also used.

OVERALL CHARACTERISTICS 
The social enterprise ecosystem in Scotland is well developed and focuses on business support, social investment, social procurement, leadership development, support for entrepreneurs, networks, social enterprise education, internationalisation and rural development. Social enterprise is viewed as a method of reducing inequality in the economy and the social enterprise sector and government work in partnership to develop progressive policy.

Spain
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BASIC FACTS
There is a large social economy in Spain, with approximately 43,000 organisations, employing 2.2 million people. These organisations include co-operatives, mutuals, and labour societies among others.

UNDERSTANDING
The development of social enterprise in Spain has followed a similar path to other European countries. Throughout the 1990s, a Europe-wide slump in employment exacerbated social exclusion and related issues, resulting in a growth in social economy initiatives which focused on employment and training opportunities. This report from La Sociedad Civil en Línea provides a comprehensive country overview, examining the historical development of the Spanish social economy, the political, legal, and economic context, and an analysis of current discourse on social enterprise from policy and academia fields.

In Spain, there is no formal definition of what constitutes a social enterprise, and as such, there is no formal identification scheme for social enterprise organisations. Spanish legislation, Law 5/2011 on the Social Economy, offers a legal framework for all entities that comprise the social economy, including those which traditionally belonged to the social economy, such as mutual aid groups and charities, as well as more modern forms of enterprise which balance economic goals with social purpose. This law requires organisations to fulfil criteria including democratic management, primacy of social purpose, and limited profit distribution; principles which are aligned with the EU operational definition of social enterprise.

OVERALL CHARACTERISTICS
There are three main types of social enterprise which have typically evolved in the Spanish context, including work integration social enterprises, special employment centres, and social initiative cooperatives. Social enterprises in Spain are particularly active in the fields of employment integration, community care, and social service provision because these are areas contracted out by public bodies and administration.

Support for social enterprises in Spain focuses on social economy at both a national and regional level, rather than social enterprises specifically. Public support mechanisms include tax breaks and similar financial measures, budget support, technical assistance, and employment policy. There are limited networking and peer support mechanisms available.

Sudan
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BASIC FACTS
While the data is not yet conclusive, there are over 220 known social enterprises operating in Sudan today. They are currently undergoing their first mapping project to evaluate social enterprise activity in the country.

UNDERSTANDING
In Sudan the term social enterprise is quite new and largely only recognised by international organisations or corporations—not the general public or government. Nonprofit is a far more common term for people to use because legal structures exist for nonprofit organisations, but not for nonprofits operating as social enterprises. These social enterprise organisations can either choose to register as NGOs or limited liability companies. With the official registration of the Sudan Social Enterprise Association on 19 October 2019, there is now an official network for social enterprise in Sudan. The Association will begin to build greater understanding of the social enterprise movement within Sudan and advocate for the sector as it continues to grow.

OVERALL CHARACTERISTICS
The social enterprise movement in Sudan is still in its initial stages, but is increasingly picking up momentum as key stakeholders begin to recognise its potential for addressing pressing social and environmental challenges in Sudan. As the government attempts to tackle the issue of employability in the country, social enterprises are slowly being considered as viable models for addressing this problem. If any strategy for social enterprise is developed, it is likely that it will at least initially focus on social enterprise as a tool for employment.

Thailand
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BASIC FACTS 
Social enterprise in Thailand is a growing sector with approximately 120,000 social enterprises residing in Thailand (The Asia Foundation, 2015). One study by the British Council found that the majority, 56%, of social enterprises are located in Bangkok. The main industries operating as social enterprises are agriculture, fisheries and livestock 15.8%, education 12.3% and health 11.6%.

UNDERSTANDING 
There has been a growth of social enterprises established from 2010 onwards when the government introduced the Social Enterprise Promotion Act to define and support the development of social enterprise by offering tax relief for corporations setting up social enterprises and tax incentives for social investment. However, awareness and understanding are still some of the major constraints experienced by social enterprises in Thailand. 

OVERALL CHARACTERISTICS
Although Thailand has multiple intermediaries e.g Change FusionAshoka ThailandNISE Corporation and there is growing interest from corporations to set up and/or support social enterprise, there are still constraining factors such as creating sound business models, limited public awareness, management challenges and access to finance. 

New Zealand
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BASIC FACTS 
In 2018, a piece of research conducted by BERL in partnership with Ākina and the Department of Internal Affairs, concluded that there are over 3,500 social enterprises in NZ, contributing over $1bn to the economy.

UNDERSTANDING 
Social enterprise is a term that has gained significant traction in the past 5-6 years in New Zealand especially after a cabinet paper was published in 2016 to support the growth of social enterprise. However, other terms are still commonly used in an interchangeable manner including: impact enterprise, impact driven business, purpose driven business, social impact business. In addition to social enterprises, community enterprises and Māori enterprises are frequently looked to for their ability to contribute to community resilience and have positive social or environmental outcomes within their communities. There is not currently a legal structure designed specifically for social enterprises, which can make it harder for these organisations to operate and for the movement to grow. An Ākina Foundation report ‘Structuring for Impact’ highlights some of these struggles for recognition faced by social enterprises.

OVERALL CHARACTERISTICS 
In New Zealand, the Ākina Foundation is the main intermediary for social enterprise. In 2018, Ākina became the central government’s official partner in growing the social enterprise movement through a 3-year $5.5 million partnership called the Social Enterprise Sector Development Programme (SESDP). The SESDP represents a key milestone for the social enterprise movement in New Zealand and it is contributing to the visibility, credibility, and momentum of social enterprise. In partnership with 11 different government departments, Ākina is working on impact measurement and access to the market and finance to bolster social enterprise. They have launched Fwd, which is their online social procurement marketplace. They have also launched New Zealand’s first impact investing fund and created and Impact Investing Network, which was ratified by the Global Steering Group on Impact Investment in October 2018. There are also local membership organisations around New Zealand such as Social Enterprise Auckland that help grow the movement at a grassroots level.